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Treasures of the Archives: Cox v. Cox: A Case of Frontier Justice Divorce

Page 1 of Frontier Justice Divorce Case Cox v. Cox, WAL-719, Frontier Justice, Walla Walla Frontier Justice, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives.

Page 1 of Frontier Justice Divorce Case Cox v. Cox, WAL-719, Frontier Justice, Walla Walla Frontier Justice, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives, http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov.

Life in Washington Territory could be rough. As Americans moved west, they brought with them problems that only the legal system could settle. The court cases that pertain to these territorial legal matters are indexed in our Frontier Justice Collection at the Digital Archives.

Marriage on the frontier could be as tumultuous as anything you see on reality television today. In the case of Catherine and William Cox, an affair caused their break-up. According to the court records, Catherine Cox was an “affectionate and obedient wife and did what was in her power to promote his happiness and interests.” When she discovered her husband was having an affair with an Indian woman, she tried her best to be a dutiful wife.

Treasures of the Archives: Horseless Carriage, 1901-1904

George W. Fox in front of Fox House, Photographs, Spokane City Historic Preservation Office, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives.

George W. Fox in front of Fox House, Photographs, Spokane City Historic Preservation Office, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives, http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov.

The first automobiles were often called “horseless carriages,” and you can see why in this Spokane photograph from about 1903. In those days owners could choose steam, gasoline, or electricity to power their newfangled vehicles. There was little infrastructure to provide gasoline, and steam engines were slow to warm up, so many people with access to electricity chose electric cars. The availability of electric cars was due to Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison’s work with alternating and direct current electricity, and Gaston Plante’s work on rechargeable batteries. By 1911 almost 30% of all the cars on the road were electric.

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